Ever since I was a small boy growing up in a small town in western Nebraska, I knew what I wanted to be when I got older. Other kids wanted to be astronauts, doctors or professional athletes, but all I wanted to do was become a hypocritical politician. I also wanted to move west and represent California’s 32nd Congressional District in the House of Representatives.I dreamt of bashing the president and opposing party, blaming everyone but me and my party for the country’s problems and then eloquently stating that being a scapegoat is wrong. This, my friends, was my version of the American Dream. Sadly, someone beat me to it, and now I guess I’ll have to settle for representing a different district in a different state.
Who stole my thunder? Democratic Congresswoman Hilda Solis, who also stole my heart in a radio address about immigration. She blamed President Bush and the Republican Party for the problems with the current immigration policy.
Solis stated: “The Republican Party set out to scapegoat immigrants in order to divide voters and win elections long ago.”
After this accusation, and others, the Congresswoman made what might be the most ridiculous statement I have heard in this debate: “Throughout the past year, the Republican Party has steadily built up its assault on immigrants.”
Correct me if I’m wrong, but it’s not like the president and his Republican supporters are rolling down the street in tanks and sniping immigrants from nearby rooftops. I’m not even sure Bush can drive a tank, but I’m fairly sure if he could, he wouldn’t be hunting down immigrants. He’d probably be hunting down those damn nukes that he couldn’t find in Iraq.
Not only did Solis take more than a few shots at the President and Republican Party, she also made the claim that “The American people want change.” Finally, she got something right.
I believe she was talking about a change in immigration legislation. The change I’m interested in would occur in southern California and would involve her resignation. But, even in that case, “Democrats will continue to fight for that (immigration legislation) change.”
It’s not that I don’t respect Ms. Solis’ opinion – everyone is entitled to his or her own. Bashing the president and getting away with it is part of free speech, and she has perfected this act.
Solis states, “Our hope is that Republicans, including the president, will finally show some leadership and help get the job done.”
The thing I cannot respect is blatant hypocrisy, which Ms. Solis has also perfected. After blaming the Republican Party solely for the problems with immigration legislation, and placing no blame on the Democratic Party, she states, “Scapegoating any group of people is wrong.”
The Congresswoman was speaking about the Republican Party setting out to scapegoat immigrants in past years, but she could have just as easily been talking about herself. Last time I checked, placing the blame on the president and his party, while placing no blame on the opposing party, constitutes scapegoating.
I’m not saying that the Democratic Party is to blame for the problems with immigration legislation. I won’t even get into whose fault it is because I don’t believe there is any one person or party to blame. I’m merely pointing out that a speech loses its effectiveness when the speaker is doing precisely what she is saying is wrong.
The fact is, illegal immigrants are present everywhere. Both Republicans and Democrats are guilty of hypocrisy; it is a part of politics. With the immigration debate heating up, we will undoubtedly hear more of it in the very near future.
My hope is that when I achieve my dream, I can get through a four-and-a-half-minute speech, wait at least a few days, and then go back and completely contradict myself.
Dan Plate is a freshman business major from Ogallala, Neb.